Fears of a food disaster for the Southern Highlands

By Jack Lapauve – EMTV News, Mendi

The peole of the Upper Mendi area, in the Southern Highlands Province, are experiencing the worst food disaster in the past decade.

The dry season has damaged food crop gardens affecting over 7,000 people.

This week, ice (frost) was experienced in the last four days killing potatoes, kaukaus, corn, and banana gardens.

Ward 2 Councilor in the Upper Mendi district, Koropa Pinjel, said the damage done has never been experienced in the past 25 years.

“Mipla bai suffer na mipla ino saveh by mipla kisim seed blo ol kaikai wer ken”, said Council Pinjel.

Council Pinjel has called on the national government to help the people with seedlings, and any other means.

Schools in the area are also having half-day classes, due to low water and food supply.

A parent told EMTV News that school fee payments will be also afffected with cash crops dying out.

Mendi Munhiu MP, De Kewanu, was also in the District to assess the damage done.

MP Kewanu said the pro-long effect may be felt for near 10 months, since crops like kaukau and potato take time to grow and produce food supply and income for the people.

Kewanu has sought Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s help to assist the affected areas.

Reports received also indicate other areas which are experiencing the dry spell. Nearby Ialibu-Pangia and Tambul districts of Western Highlands, and other parts of the Highlands region, are reporting the same conditions.

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